The final few weeks of 2013 are a great time to examine what’s worked – or not – during the past 12 months and use this as the basis for a 2014 business plan that to make the year ahead your best one yet.
What Can You Do Better?
Set aside some time to put your previous business plans under scrutiny. In the midst of the year-end hustle and holiday bustle, you may want to pull your leadership team off site for a distraction-free planning session.
- Ask the hard questions. What worked well this past year? What didn’t? And what will we do differently in 2014? Where do we see the company in six months? Twelve months? Five years?
- Involve all key stakeholders. In addition to your executive team, this should include rank-and-file employees. They are your foot soldiers in the war for competitive success. At the forefront of your business, they can best gauge customer service and production reality on the ground.
- Include an outsider. This is a consultant or similar professional who’s a sharp business person, but who doesn’t know what everyone in your business does. They lend a new and fresh perspective, asking questions and adding ideas that will help you break free from old assumptions and reexamine “accepted” answers and processes.
Create a Strategy Map
Defining goals and then developing a method to track progress are the keys to successful business planning. Your comprehensive strategy map should focus on:
- Internal processes
- Customer service (both internal and external)
- Financial perspective
- Learning and innovation
The Numbers Tell the Story
If you don’t use data to track progress against business goals, you’re flying blind. Be sure you have a customer relationship management system that monitors key performance indicators and enables you to spot potential problems before they arise. Your system should:
- Capture all the information needed for your business to excel in sales, marketing and customer service.
- Provide a database of all client interactions. This is the raw material you need to view trends and predict future outcomes.
Get the Best Staff and Keep Them Happy
Your plan won’t get past Square One without the best talent to make it work. An integral part of your strategy is finding, hiring and retaining the team you need to drive results. This includes:
- Staffing and communication plans that parallel your business plan.
- Incentives and an organizational culture that attract talent leaders and foster retention.
While planning and goal setting are critically important, discipline and adaptability throughout the calendar year are business musts. Drop the ball on this premise, and you’ll wind up in the same place next December, scratching your head and asking “where did that year go?!”
- Schedule periodic sessions to evaluate and update your business plan and track results. Hold owners responsible for completing tasks, identifying opportunities and barriers, and keeping the plan viable all year long.
- Break goals up into realistic steps that can be accomplished weekly, monthly or quarterly.
- As a leader, be accessible to guide your team toward meeting their objectives.
Don’t panic: You still have time to make it happen! If you need assistance in staffing and business planning for 2014 and beyond, contact the team at PrideStaff Modesto today. And best wishes for the New Year!